Bulgaria 2017 elections: Former justice minister’s Yes Bulgaria urgently gathering signatures to register as coalition
Yes Bulgaria, the anti-corruption and pro-judicial reform political party founded by former justice minister Hristo Ivanov, was holding an urgent drive among citizens on February 7 to raise 3000 signatures to register as a coalition to participate in the March 26 early parliamentary elections.
The step became necessary after what appeared to be a dirty-tricks move to block Yes Bulgaria from taking part in the elections by mounting a court challenge to its registration in part through the use of identity fraud.
Founded on January 7, Yes Bulgaria (Да, България!) applied to the Sofia City Court on January 13 for registration in terms of the Political Parties Act. The court granted the registration application on January 30.
But on February 6, it emerged that three appeals against the registration had been lodged in court. In two of the cases, the identities – supposedly in the names of two of the party’s founders – were dismissed by the party as submitted illegitimately.
Ivanov told reporters that the third name, an Ivan Ivanov, was that of an individual who had attempted to disrupt the party’s founding meeting.
The deadline for the Supreme Court of Cassation to rule on the appeals against Yes Bulgaria’s registration as a party is several days beyond the deadline for the party to register with the Central Election Commission to take part in the March 2017 elections.
Yes Bulgaria’s response is to register as a coalition, reportedly having had talks with the Greens party and the DEOS party.
Boryana Musseva, one of the party’s founders, told Bulgarian National Radio on February 7 that supporters had been mobilised to gather the 3000 further signatures needed to register as a coalition with the CEC. Yes Bulgaria already has 5000 signatures and needs the remainder to reach the 8000 required by law.
The signatures have to be gathered within 24 hours.
Places that Bulgarian voters can submit their signatures include at Business Park Sofia, the underpass next to Sofia University metro station, the Palace of Justice and Serdica metro station.
On February 7, one of the party’s founders, Vera Assenova, in whose name one of the fraudulent applications to appeal against the party’s registration was lodged, was to go to court to formally withdraw the application and would file a complaint with the Prosecutor’s Office for identity theft.